Last Christmas, I found myself on a whirlwind trip to Budapest. In the midst of the city my friend and I experienced our first Ruin Bar, Szimpla Kert. It was at once the craziest and most welcoming place I have ever been to. I did not feel alienated by cool hipster vibes, or Chelsea cool crowd. I slipped in easily amongst the students, the hen parties, the work colleagues and the other travellers. No pressure, no fitting in, just fun.
It seems I was not the only one yearning to bring this unique experience back to St Andrews. This November you maybe lucky enough to find yourself in the Scottish take on a ruin bar with ‘Szentek’. The founder of the initiative explains how this all came about as a result of a ‘tipsy idea’. Stumbling into the exact same Ruin Bar as I did, she was entranced by the wacky décor, the no frills fun, and thought ‘I’m going to bring this to St Andrews’.
So what exactly is a ‘ruin bar’? Set inside derelict buildings, these bars vary from pop ups to permanent establishments. The ceilings are dripping mind boggling decorations, a flying gnome, Victorian lamps, a chair, you name it, it’s there.
Szentek has taken on the challenge of transforming Kinkell Byre. I have been assured that the creative team behind the enterprise are already full of ideas, plans are in the works for modern art displays, tapestries, graffiti, a bike, basically whatever they can get their hands on. The head organiser discloses ‘My flat is already pretty full of things; I think it is going to create the same feeling I had when I was in Budapest, you are going to want to take photos of things. I’m most excited about the psychedelic movies we’re planning to play on a 5×3 canvas at Kinkell.’
The event is abandoning all the norms, the main mission statement: ‘what does a black tie do? lets do the opposite of that.’ They have tapped into what St. Andrews needs, a low key, memorable night with a great soundtrack, all for the price of £25 (early bird ticket). A key part of the Szentek initiative has been to keep the price down. While they won’t give away any hints as to the line-up, a mischevious look from the founder suggests they have something up their sleeve.
Alarm bells may already be ringing for some on hearing the event will take place on a Thursday. However, I think I speak for everyone when I say some of the most unexpected and best nights I’ve had at University have struck me down on a Thursday night. We’re students, we only have a few years to capitalise on partying in the week before the 9-5 reality sets in, so stop worrying.
The Szentek creative team have already proved their credentials at hosting a good time with their launch party at the Vic on Wednesday. When I met the team their hands are already stained blue from tie dyeing 150 t-shirts for the launch. Bringing in DJ Rjay Murphy all the way from Glasgow, they were determined to stress that this event would be about good music and fun. Which it accomplished magnificently, and was easily one of the best nights at the Vic.
Too often a good night in St Andrews is clouded by exclusivity, a worry that you will not fit in. Here everyone is welcome. And that secrecy thing that has everyone talking? Pure accident. In a town where we are too familiar with looking behind the Wizard’s curtain, to not know the committee can make us a little uneasy. Well, here is an extra staggering blow, there is no committee, it is more a creative team. Just lots of people, passionate about the event, shifting between roles as the need arises. Though, for those needing a few more solid facts, the event is a fundraiser for class gift.
Prepare to don your waviest garms, Instagram the hell out of a night, and dance A LOT. This is come as you are, be who you are, honest fun. I think we can expect some weird and wonderful things from Szentek.
Early bird tickets go on sale Monday @ The Vic. Szentek will take place at Kinkell Byre, 17th November, price £25-30, see the Facebook page for more details.